Friday, March 31, 2006

To Live or to Die? That is the Question

We all have to do it.

We finally get our lives going the way we want, and something upsets the balance. The unexpected event, change in circumstances, a looming deadline, or just plain reality sets in. Then we have to make a decision.

This is not just any decision, like what to wear today, or what to eat. I am talking about the decision that will set the course of our lives. The decision that will set us into a pattern for years to come. The decision that will shape how we think and process information. It can be whether we change jobs or stay. It can be whether we marry that person or break it off. It can be whether we believe something to be true or not.

These types of questions have life-altering implications, but it isn't the questions or the results of our decisions that is at the issue here. It is always how we choose to choose that will shape our character, not the choice itself. For instance, some people may have no problem changing jobs when things get tough, or stay because they don't know what else to do. But when a person knows something to be true, and it is out of character to follow a particular path — even though it is the right course — that is the moment when character will either blossom or die a little.

Is that too drastic? No, I don't think so. Usually when we have to make decisions that are unclear, there may be fear involved. But what do we do with the fear? Sometimes the decision is clear, but the implications cause fear in us. What will we do with the fear?

In a tragic episode in Israelite history, the Hebrews were faced with unknown consequences. They knew that God wanted them to go into a land, with the promise that blessings will follow. But...

The excuses rained out from them.
"There are people living there that are bigger and stronger than us."

"Why has the Lord bought us out here to die?"

"It's the leaderships' fault. If Moses and Aaron were better leaders, we wouldn't be in this mess!"

"I don't understand why we just couldn't stay in Egypt. At least the food was good, and we got plenty of exercise."

We are no different. Whenever we succumb to fear, we die in the desert. Maybe not literally, but a piece of our character dies, never realizing the blessing waiting for us. We either look back at the good-old-days, or we fantasize about unrealistic hopes that are born out of cowardice.

Will all our big decisions be like this? No. Most big issues in life involve decisions between two good choices, or unclear paths, or obvious challenges that we are accustomed to seeing. But there always comes a time when we may have to sacrifice our Isaac, or visit our cross. What will we do then? I don't know about you. But, I hope I will have the faith to lean on Jesus.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Posting Problems

Sorry to the few of you who happen to read this blog. In the past few weeks, I have had problems posting messages. There have been some minor technical problems, but most of the problems exist in my topsy-turvy world. There are so many changes going on in my personal life, that I can't get a handle on what I want to say. This is not because I don't have anything to say. I have too much to say. There is so much going on, personally, and globally that I want to talk about. I will try my best to get to all these things, and post more often.

Thanks to those of you who have been giving me support.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Nature of Reality

This is just a thought. But, there are several systems of beliefs that we walk around with on a daily basis. We rarely recognize them. But they guide us in evaluating truth claims, in how we see reality, and in our decision-making. These are things like sayings we've heard over and over, assumptions we hold on to, old recordings we play in our heads, and memories that inform our fears and our desires.

For instance, why do some people believe that stepping on a crack will cause bad luck? Why do some people believe that everything came from nothing on its own? Why do some people believe that one race is better than another? Why do some people believe that they will be the lucky winner this time? Why do some people believe that they are the center of the universe? Why do some people believe that there is no real truth, only opinions? Why do some people believe that intelligence originated with inanimate objects?

Is it really true that optimism is better than pessimism? No. They are both bad, because they both involve the decision to believe something based on desire not truth.

Is it really true that all truth claims are equally valid? No. Because, the opposite can not be true at the same time.

Is it really true that Christianity and macro-evolutionary theory can be compatible? No. Because Christianity claims that God is the Great Cause, not matter.

Is it really true that science and the Bible can be reconciled? No, because the question is wrong. Science is man's attempt to understand something he/she finds difficult to understand. However, the Bible informs our understanding of science, and science, when properly understood, informs our understanding of the Bible. The Bible hasn't been proved or disproved by science. But science has demonstrated the Bible's accuracy in reporting, the authenticity of the manuscripts, and its historical significance.

Is it really true that the Church has suppressed women throughout history? No. The teachings of Christ and the apostles, and the actions of the early Church defy that claim. However, if you say something enough times it becomes true, especially in light of recent history. Following, can anyone really say that they can point to the Church, even today, and be accurate that they are looking at the whole Church, and the embodiment of its teachings.

Is it really true that Jesus is the only way to be saved? Yes and no. Yes, there is no way to the Father except through Christ. And yes, people who have Christ will be saved, and those who reject Christ will be condemned. No, if you are as perfectly righteous as God is righteous. (Since no one really is, or can be, then essentially the answer is a flat no.)

That's not fair! Why does Jesus have to be the only way? Let's say the way to God is a phone number. If we dial it, we can reach God. But let's say we get the phone number off by one or two numbers. We will not get God. We will get a wrong number. The possibility of getting a wrong number is greater than getting the number right, because the number combination is a precise sequence of numbers. Any other sequence, or different number combinations will be wrong. It isn't cruel, it is the nature of dialing up one specific person.

Gravity is a truth that has positive and negative consequences. The negative consequences do not negate the truth of it. But we can never ignore it and still survive.